Last spring as diesel prices climbed higher and higher with no real relief in sight, it became clear to folks on the first rung of the food chain that food was about to get expensive. Sure enough, the average Thanksgiving meal in Illinois will cost about 13% more this year compared to last year.
The American Farm Bureau Federation has just released its annual Thanksgiving cost survey, marked by inflation across every food category. In Illinois, the average classic Thanksgiving meal for 10 will cost $65.53, or $6.55 per person. That’s up from $58.15 last year.
Illinoisians are paying slightly more than the rest of the country for food. Nationwide, the average cost for Thanksgiving is $64.05. The price of turkey increased 21% over the past year, likely attributed to both feed costs and avian influenza outbreaks. Of the 12 food items tracked in the survey, 11 went up in price; only cranberries decreased.
The good news for shoppers is that most of these prices were tracked and recorded in late October. Folks buying food for Thanksgiving meals this week are more likely to catch sales, especially on whole frozen turkeys.
Still, inflation is reducing consumers’ purchasing power. AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan says general inflation has been running 7% to 9% in recent months, while the most recent Consumer Price Index report for food consumed at home reveals a 12% increase over the past year.
“Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine,” Cryan says. “The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights.”
Fortunately, supply is not in question, even of whole turkeys, a sector that saw temporary regional shortages earlier this year in states affected by avian influenza.